ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP Review

ASUS has launched three custom GeForce GTX 660 Ti video cards. Today we have the "top" end of these three video cards, the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP. Featuring a high factory overclock and custom cooling we review it against a GeForce GTX 670 and overclocked Radeon HD 7950 to find out which offers the best gaming.

Introduction

ASUSTeK Computer Inc. is one of the largest and most successful computer hardware manufacturers in the world. A Taiwan-based company, it manufactures a wide variety of computer hardware, including motherboards, video cards, optical drives, notebooks, networking equipment, barebones desktop, and server systems, among many others. In 2008, it sold over 24 million motherboards, grossed 8.1 billion U.S. dollars, and won 3,056 awards from various enthusiasts and IT related outlets.

On our test bench today is the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP (GTX660 TI-DC2T-2GD5) video card.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti

NVIDIA released its new GeForce GTX 660 Ti, code-named "GK104" on August 16th, 2012. The GeForce GTX 660 Ti has 7 SMX clusters which each have 192 CUDA cores inside. The GPU is built using 28nm technology.

The GeForce GTX 660 Ti itself is comprised of 3.54 billion transistors packed into 1344 CUDA cores with a default clock speed of 915MHz. The GeForce GTX 660 Ti also has a boost clock which it will increase during graphically demanding applications and guarantees at least 980MHz. There are a total of 8 geometry units, 112 texture units, and 24 ROPs. This video card also uses the new PolyMorph 2.0 Engine which NVIDIA claims has 4x the tessellation performance of the Radeon HD 7970.

The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is designed to be paired with 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 192-bit bus, running at 1502MHz for a 6GHz data rate and a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 144.2GB per second. The typical board power is 170W which will work with the advanced diagnostics to create more efficient and lower overall power consumption. A standard GeForce GTX 660 Ti only requires two 6-pin PCI-E connectors. It can support up to 4 displays on a single video card, with one Dual Link DVI-I connector, one Dual Link DVI-D connector, one HDMI connector and one DisplayPort connector.


ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP

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ASUS has continued designing top of the line, excellent hardware with the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP. The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP (referred to as the GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP from now on) comes outfitted with the second fastest factory overclock available on a GeForce GTX 660 Ti video card. It sports the always effective DirectCU II cooling system, which has shown us low temperatures time and time again. To top it off the ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP is covered in "Super Alloy Components" that ASUS claims provide cooler temperatures, a longer lifespan, and work hand in hand with the ASUS GPU Tweak overclocking utility to provide high overclocks.

The ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP ships with a monster factory overclock. The video card has a base GPU frequency of 1059MHz, an increase of 144MHz from the reference design. The GPU Boost frequency will run at 1137MHz, assuring users they will at least receive this frequency in game. This is an increase of 157MHz compared to the reference GeForce GTX 660 Ti design. The memory shares the reference speed of 1502MHz or 6GHz GDDR5.

Arguably one of this video cards best features is the DirectCU II cooling system. This cooling system has proven itself on the ASUS GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP and the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP video cards. This cooling system features three copper heat pipes that directly contact the GPU and spread to 5 areas of the heatsink. The heatsink extends past the end of the PCB, and is made of thin fins that have a large surface area to spread heat. This is cooled by the two fans that each have 11 blades. These fans have smaller blades with sharper angles to direct more airflow while reducing fan noise. ASUS tells us this DirectCU II cooling system makes the ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP 20% cooler and 5 times quieter than the reference design cooler.

The ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP is strapped with "Super Alloy Components." The Super Alloy Chokes, Capacitors, and MOSFETs are designed to provide cooler and quieter operation compared to standard components. ASUS makes a lot of claims about its Super Alloy hardware set. The Super Alloy capacitors have a lifespan 2.5 times longer than a standard capacitor, which helps ensure a long life for the video card. These components also help deliver cleaner and more consistent power to the video card, which leads to better performance and higher overclocking capability.

ASUS has its own overclocking program in ASUS GPU Tweak. This program has GPU-Z built in to it, and monitors several different facets of your video card in real time. ASUS GPU Tweak has a very simple design that makes it easy for users to overclock immediately after installing. It is always a plus when a company has great software to support its video cards, and users do not have to go looking for third party software.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II is currently out of stock at Newegg, Amazon, and TigerDirect but should be available soon. The MSRP for this video card is $329.99. You can read more about the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP's specifications here.

ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP Pictures

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The ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP comes in a black and dark grey box pointing out some of the best features of the video card. These include the DirectCU II cooling system and the TOP factory overclock. It states the video card uses DIGI+ VRM and Super Alloy Power components that increase overclocking capability. ASUS also mentions its overclocking program ASUS GPU Tweak which has support for this video card.

The accessory package is very bland with this video card. It includes a speed setup guide, one DVI to D-Sup adaptor, and one 6-pin PCIe to dual-Molex power connector.

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ASUS has constructed the ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP on a custom black PCB. The board itself is covered by the finned heatsink which extends past the end of the PCB. Encasing the heatsink is a black plastic cover with three red stripes running through the center. This black cover also houses the two fans. The rear I/O panel houses a Dual-Link DVI-I connector, a Dual-Link DVI-D connector, an HDMI connector, and a DisplayPort connector. The ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP requires a 550 watt power supply and two 6-pin PCIe power connectors which are housed on the top of the video card.

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The ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP will take up two slots in your case. Part of the ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP's DirectCU II cooling system includes three copper heat pipes that directly contact the GPU and spread heat to 5 different areas on the heatsink. The ASUS GTX 660 Ti DC II TOP measures 10 and 5/8th inches in length, 1.5 inches wide, and 4.75 inches in height.